Black Point Historic Gardens (10/20/2022)

Today I volunteered at Black Point.

On my way to the main staircase, I happened to see half of a rat on the ground. Yellowjackets were making use of it! Weird start to my afternoon, but stranger things have started my volunteer gigs there…

I was asked to be on trash pick-up duty, and I happily obliged. Random garbage was on the main staircase as I walked up, so I didn’t mind at all to clean it up. Turns out, there was plenty of random garbage all over the gardens. So I had a pretty productive day. And removed two needles, so that was good.

After about 15ish minutes or so of picking up garbage, I came upon an explosion of bird feathers. It made me think an owl may have done it, since I spotted an owl pellet up under the eucs at the top. What was strange was that I could not place these feathers. White and a very light tan color. It truly looked like it just spontaneously exploded. Natalie said she’d been finding owl pellets there recently. But that the Coyotes of Fort Mason have also been about.

Ok, so Seek and iNat believe these feathers to be of a Night-Heron. That means it’s likely a Black-crowned Night-Heron as I’ve seen them in the area before? I really wish I knew what happened!

That, and another bird feather explosion on the other side of the gardens (where all white feathers were, hm!), was about it for fauna moments. All of the Blackberry bushes are gone now. So all the Song Sparrows and Hummingbirds don’t really have places to hide or perch on like they used to. I think I saw some Yellow-rumped Warblers in the Palms at the top, though. That usual Black Phoebe was also at the top, as usual. And Red-masked Parakeets were making a ruckus, though I never saw them.

I was so busy picking up garbage that I didn’t really have time to stop and watch. But I think less wildlife is there with all the decent sized bushes removed. Oh! On my way out, a group of White-crowned Sparrows were hopping through recently-watered plants at the top of the staircase. Some Coyote Brush is starting to come in, so maybe they’re eyeing those spots?

As for flora, the gardens are looking quite empty right now. But, flowering Orpine and Coyote Mint and Lady Phacelia and Farewell-To-Spring were doing what they could. My California Flannelbush is doing just fine, too. And the large California Buckeye tree near it has its fruit ornaments on display.

Since I left the gardens INSANELY CLEANER than how I found it, I felt quite pleased with my time there. Not a whole lotta Naturing, but cleaning up around Nature. Not too shabby.

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